Category Archives: Israel

Message from ICCI about Gaza

I’ve been getting lots of emails from both the right and left about how to handle the Gaza situation. I thought I would share with you Rabbi Ron Kronish’s letter from the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel’s monthly newsletter. I highlight this organization because it’s one that you may not know about, I used to work there, and it is working here on the ground in Israel on interfaith dialogue–a difficult task to accomplish in a climate of war. I always enjoy catching up with the work of this organization and hearing Ron’s eloquent words.

Dear friends,

I write this monthly message to you in the midst of the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.  This is a very delicate and dangerous time in Israel and the region.

On the one hand, the state of Israel needs to protect its citizens, as any other state would have the responsibility to do the same. When Hamas sends rockets and missiles to Israeli communities all over the southern part of the country, with almost one million Israeli citizens in danger, the leaders of the state cannot refrain forever from some defensive action.

Continue reading

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Gaza Strike

I went online after Shabbat this evening to find that Israel went ahead with an airstrike on Gaza. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. On the one hand, these types of military escalations can backfire and just make the Palestinians angrier. Do they really end up helping things in the long run, I wonder. Also civilian casualties, even when minimized, do result in these operations. The opposition uses these attacks as yet another propaganda weapon to show the oppressiveness and unjustness of the Occupation regime.

On the other hand, Israel has a right to protect its civilians who have been subjected to a continuing barrage of rocket fire. Some–particularly the right-wing–have been critical for its slow response to the Qassams as opposed to its aggressiveness towards the Palestinians. Also I can’t deny that I have misgivings about Hamas’ trustworthiness given its ideological bent and seeming efforts to take advantage of any openings on the Israeli side to inflict pain.

Surely the Gaza blockade and the military strikes create suffering for the Palestinians, but what are the options in terms of preventing the other side from augmenting its instruments of terror? If you allow everything to go into Gaza and if you don’t have incursions, how do you prevent weapons from being smuggled in. How do you know that the other side is just building up its resources until it can launch an even bigger attack?

And yet, how do you protect civilians without sabotaging efforts to create a lasting peace? Is it possible to reach a compromise or will each side find just one more thing, one more justification for continuing its actions? Will each side demand just one more thing in order to gain the upper hand?

If anyone happens to stumble upon this blog, I welcome comments. But please no rants. I am actually looking for observant, insightful and thoughtful comments which actually have evidence to back them up. Otherwise I just won’t post them.

Americans Don’t Know Crap about Israelis and other observations

Eric alerted me to two articles this past week that complement last week’s Jerusalem Post article about the UJC GA in Israel.

The first one is actually a response from a piqued Israeli reporter, Anshel Pfeffer’s pointing out that Americans don’t know much about Israelis.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1041903.html

The second one is a thoughtful analysis by Michael Oren that explores the gap between American and Israeli Jews.

http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=472

I think there was something else in the Jpost recently as well, although it slipped through my fingers Continue reading

Israelis Don’t Know Crap about American Jewry

Hey sorry for the long delay on blogging. Graduate school studies have bogged me down as of late. I’ll write about that in my next post. For now I will share with you an article in the Jerusalem Post about how the Israeli media completely disregarded the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.

Such an oversight exemplifies the complete ignorance that many Israelis have of the Jewish diaspora, particularly the American Jews–which is a particularly stupid strategy given that American Jewry have been a significant source of funding for Israel. Moreover, they are not just another backwater diaspora community. They are the size of Israel!

Not only do they fail to understand, but they actually think they know what they are talking about and don’t seem to care about learning more. The article also reveals some of the historic disdain that Israel has harbored toward diaspora Jewry and the ever widening rift between American and Israeli Jewry. Continue reading

School is On!

So I actually am starting school tomorrow. Olmert finally interevened and said enough is enough, the universities need to start on time.

Haaretz wrote an interesting editorial on the university crisis, calling for more accountability on the university level. The treasury wants university spending to go toward certain avenues as recommended by an entity called the Shochat Committee, but the universities want free reign.  Continue reading

Update on University Status

I’m still not sure if I’m going to school on Sunday. University and government representatives weren’t able to reach a settlement yesterday, and the finance ministry is apparently dragging its feet.

If the current situation continues, I can see how education will become increasingly split between the haves and have nots. The ones who have more money and don’t want to put up with anymore interferences in their studies will go to the Michlalot–or colleges–which are somewhat more expensive or else study abroad. The ones who have less money will have to put up with a crumbling education system and watch their own professional future suffer. Continue reading

Elections

Apparently I’ll have my first opportunity to vote. Tzippi Livni, who was granted the authority by President Shimon Peres to form a new coalition government after Olmert resigned, did not succeed in bringing enough coalition partners on board. The major sticking point was that she would not agree to the Kitzbah—or allowance—amount that the party Shas wanted to allocate for families with children or to the amount the Pensioners party wanted.

UPDATE: I think there was another point of contention, which  was the issue of negotiations with Palestinians over Jerusalem.

UPDATE2: After Livni accused Shas of extortion, the party shot back and accused Livni of Sephardi racism. Continue reading